Monday, April 14, 2014

Good Training Weekend for the Vancouver 100!

This past weekend the weather was fantastic for mid April in Vancouver. The weather was so warm for the season there were "weather warnings". We tend to associate warnings with cold temps or high winds. The skies were blue with temperatures around 20 C. This set us up for some good training runs.

Saturday we decided to climb Black Mountain from Nelson Creek and do an out and back. This is the big climb which you do from both sides in the upcoming Vancouver 100. Black Mountain is at 4,000 feet with 3,550 feet of elevation gain in 7.7km from the Nelson Creek parking lot. The trail starts out in a nice wooded forest but soon turns into scree fields, boulders and a near vertical climb for quite awhile. I decided to try the journey with poles. I've noticed others using poles on this route. I found them helpful and on the way down went with just one pole to act as an extra appendage. The views at the top of Black Mountain were so clear and with it being so early in the Spring there were no bugs! We could sit and enjoy our lunch without being eaten alive by black flies or wasps!

Heading up the scree section with the poles.
Rough terrain.
Beautiful Day!
Interesting use of Baden Powell trail markers.
We came upon this |"Vancouver Canucks Fan Club Hat" on a rock. The Vancouver Canucks just finished one of their worse seasons ever. The fan must have laid the hat to rest.
 The  journey of up and down the mountain took us 4 hours and 15 minutes including our stay up top.
Baden Powell trail returning from Mountain Highway.
Sunday we enjoyed the Baden Powell trail from Grouse Mountain to Mountain Highway and then return to Grouse. Plenty of ups and downs on a very gnarly trail. 3 hours. 
Tonight after work we met Marla for a climb up the Incline trail in Golden Ears Park (1.2km up with 500 feet of elevation gain) with a nice run down the fire access trail.
 I felt tired tonight - oh but it's a good tired ;-)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Diez Vista

Saturday was the 50km Diez Vista Trail Run. It is a great event with the Race Director being my trail buddy Wendy Montgomery.  I was signed up but have had a bad chest cold the last few weeks and decided to not do it. It's always a tough decision what to do. Neil completed it in his consistent pace! Fergus and I slept in and then set out to meet up with Neil along the course. It was Fergus's first Ultra as a spectator. He thought all the runners were Neil - greeting them all with a big smile and ready for a kiss!

Thank-you Wendy for the arm sleeves - great gift!

 My focus now is the Vancouver 100km event in June. I have ramped up my training on the route which feels really good. It is a tough 100km but it is the type of terrain I really enjoy. With time as with all things in life you learn to know your strengths. I really prefer the mountain trails to the roads or flat running. The next while I will be focusing my training on the Baden Powell. The ski hills are still open so there are some sections of the course we cannot yet access but Spring is here! Neil is doing the Cateran 110 mile even in Scotland in May. Last year we completed the 55 mile event together...what a great journey through the area where the Ambrose family farm was. Neil is turning 50 just after the event and what a better way to celebrate a birthday! ;-)
The Daffodils are blooming!
And the Cherry Blossoms!

Cloud covered mountains but nice Cherry Blossoms in the foreground.
Happy Spring - V100 we go! ;-)

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Quick Trip to Toronto and Chuckanutt

This past week we enjoyed a quick trip to Toronto. Neil had a 1 day meeting and I had a day of retail therapy. The meeting sponsors hosted us at the CN Tower for a lovely evening. Wow - is it high! The 360 degree revolving restaurant where we spent the evening is at 351 metres (1,151 feet).
CN Tower
 View Down to the City
 That's Lake Ontario the blue mass of water as seen from the CN Tower
Neil on the glass floor at the tower - he didn't look down!
Saturday Neil participated in another 50km event, Chuckanut in Bellingham USA. He finished in about the same time as previous years he has run this event solo. We have done it together a few times as well.
Fergus and I out for a run at Buntzen Lake. No views in the rain and low cloud on Sunday.
Tonight when out for a run on the dykes we spotted this Eagle in the tree. Fresh snow on the mountains! I'm enjoying the extra hour of daylight despite the temperatures still being cool.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snow, Spring and the Dirty Duo

 This view of the local Mountains was taken last week from our front garden. The snow was plentiful!
 Which allowed more snow shoeing
 Evenings on the slopes.
Spring is here...the clocks have changed and the snow is receding. We enjoyed the extra hour of light tonight and went for a run on the dykes in Pitt Meadows with Fergus.
This past weekend Neil completed the Dirty Duo 50 km run in wet and muddy conditions. We have both completed this run several times over the years. Its a great prelude to the dawn of a new season of running and outdoor activities in the Lower Mainland.  His time was consistent with last years which he was pleased with.
Good news...Kendall (niece) and Chris (who are living in Baltimore, Maryland) are joining us for a week in Scotland after the Cateran 110 mile run. Neil is signed up in celebration of his 50th year!  I'm on the crew team for this one with Neil's family.  So......mileage and activities are increasing for both of us and it feels good!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Olympic Gold for Canada!

The final Olympic men's hockey game started at 4 AM Vancouver time. Many were up and watching the game at local sports bars. We opted to stay home and get up to watch the final period. It was a great game and we won 3-0 against Sweden. We were at the condo downtown Vancouver and shortly after the win we saw the reflection of the Olympic flame on a building. When out for our morning stroll with Fergus we saw the flame in the distance. The Olympic torch which sits in Jack Poole Plaza was lit throughout the games when Canada won gold.
The Olympic Torch in the distance - it snowed all weekend but there was very little accumulation in the city. 

More accumulation in the garden at the house.

Canada won a total of 25 Olympic medals at the Sochi Games. 10 Gold, 10 Silver and 5 Bronze. After all, the majority of the country was brought up in a land of ice and snow!
Well done Team Canada. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snow Shoeing at Mt. Seymour

Winter has finally provided the Vancouver area with snow and there is more to come! We were keen to hit our local mountains for some snow fun. Friday night Neil, Dave and I went to Mt. Seymour to snow shoe. The conditions were perfect. Plenty of fresh snow and clear skies with great views of Vancouver below.
We went on the trail to first pump (oops! we thought we were doing the winter route to Dog Mountain - missed the turn) for a new adventure in the dark. Dave and I with the city lights below.
 Heading back down with the city lights below - it is so nice!
 Saturday Neil and I had a good active day. We attended a Yoga class in Coal Harbour, ran on the seawall in the snow and headed back up Mt. Seymour for more snow shoeing once dark, this time to Dog Mountain. It was a winter wonderland - it was snowing heavily and -7 C. There is something magical about going out in the dark. First, no people!, the silence the snow brings and it is stunning to see the trees flocked with snow with the headlamp lighting the way. 
 Plenty of fresh powder - this is Neil's pole!
Thanks Fergus for helping with the blog!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ottawa - Canada's Capital

Neil had a 2 day meeting in Ottawa this past week. We added a few more days to explore the nations capital city - it was a first visit for both of us. We've been to Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and Charlottetown but never to Ottawa. The weather was cold (for us) at minus 10 for daytime highs and down to minus 25 overnight. This was balmy compared to the minus 30 temps the city had been experiencing prior to our arrival. There was plenty of snow, 180 cm. Winterlude, Ottawa's Winter festival was on while we were there, attracting thousands of locals and visitors alike over its three week duration. Winterlude is a festival of all things winter that centers activities around the Rideau Canal. The Rideau Canal is the worlds largest skating rink. Here are some of the highlights of our visit:
The Parliament Buildings

Skating on the Rideau Canal
Winterlude Ice Sculptures
Canadian Flags
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.
Chateau Laurier
Overlooking the Rideau Canal
On the Rideau Canal at night.
24 Sussex Drive - home of the Prime Minister and his family.
De-icing of the plane so we could take off from the Ottawa Airport. Looking forward to a return visit to Canada's capital.
Hope you are enjoying the Olympics - Go Canada!